HSS Trivia 2019!

I’ve been hosting trivia contests at the University of Ottawa for three years now. Our most recent event was this past Wednesday March 6, 2019.

If you’re interested, I’ve blogged recaps of the previous competitions:

This week was our longest contest yet (in terms of the number of questions). There were 90 questions in total, with a possible maximum score of 112.

We had three teams: two of them consisting of graduate students (with later additions of a couple of my friends), and one team made up of professors.

Here were the final scores from rounds 1-6:

disgruntled damsels (i.e. the profs) 8 8 17 15 11 13 72
master prickles 7 3 14 8 11 13 56
beta blockers 6 5 12 17 10 17 67

Yes, the professors won. But they were supposed to!

How well would you do? Below are the questions and answers


1 In the movie “Top Gun” what was Tom Cruise’s call sign? Maverick
2 Name all of the full-time hosts of the Tonight Show Steve Allen, Jack Parr, Johnny Carson,  Jay Leno,  Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon
3 In England they call it a “biro”. What is the same object called in Canada? Ball point pen
4 What is the most common blood type in the world? (Give me both Rh and ABO groups) O+ (39%)
5 At what temperature are  ºF and ºC equal? -40 degrees
6 Quelle a été la première planète à être découverte à l’aide d’un télescope? Uranus
7 What is an infant whale called? calf
8 How many hearts does an octopus have? Three
9 What animal has the largest brain (by mass)? Sperm whale
10 In what month is the Earth closest to the sun? January
11 What was the first electronic computer called? ENIAC
12 The fear of being in a commitment or getting married is known as what? Gamophobia
13 What is a group of porcupines called? A prickle
14 What is a group of cats called? A clowder
15 How many time zones does China have? One


1 How many earths would fill up the sun? (A) 100,000 (B) 1 million (C) 10 million (D) 100 million (E) 1 billion (B) 1 million
2 What drug is produced from the bark of the white willow tree? Aspirin
3 Who was the first African American woman to be crowned Miss America? Vanessa Williams
4 Which U.S. president is honored in the Wrestling Hall of Fame? Lincoln
5 In what city was the very first Hard Rock Cafe opened? London (1971)
6 How many people have walked on the moon? 12
7 How many stripes are on the American flag? 13
8 Who was the first president of the United States to live in the White House? John Adams
9 En 1893, quel pays est devenu le premier à donner le droit de vote aux femmes? New Zealand
10 What novel begins, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”? A Tale of Two Cities
11 What name does the country of Rhodesia now go by? Zimbabwe
12 In what year did the Titanic sink? 1912
13 Which is the only US state whose capital city has ZERO McDonalds restaurants? Vermont (Montpelier)
14 In what city do you find the airport with ID code YWG? Winnipeg
15 Yerevan is the capital of what country? Armenia


1 In which U.S. state would you find Mount Rushmore? South Dakota
2 Spain has a land border with what 3 countries? France, Portugal, UK (Gibraltar)
3 Which is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust? Aluminum
4 What are the five boroughs of New York City? Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island
5 Prior to 1997, what was the Democratic Republic of Congo known as? Zaire
6 Every few years, the standard IQ test is revised and standardized so that the theoretical average IQ is always what? 100
7 Which of the following countries has the highest average IQ? (Based on 2006 data) (A) Norway, (B) Israel, (C) Denmark, (D) Switzerland Switzerland (101)
8 In Ontario health policy, what does LHIN stand for? (Bonus point if you can name the LHIN that oversees Ottawa) Local Health Integration Network; Champlain
9 Which breed of dog gets its name from the French for “earth”? Terrier
10 The first transistors (made at Bell Labs) were made from what semiconductive element? Germanium
11 What device was used to amplify electronic signals (such as radio and television signals) before the invention of the transistor? Vacuum tube
12 What does an enologist study? wine
13 What does beer have that ale does not? (This question was appealed and might be wrong) hops
14 Dans quel pays trouveriez-vous le plus grand nombre de catholiques? Brazil
15 What non-human animal is mentioned most frequently in both the New and Old Testaments? Sheep


1 What country has the only national flag that is not square or rectangular? Nepal
2 Where would one arrive at the second star to the right, and straight on till morning? Neverland
3 Who wrote “Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None”? Friedrich Nietzsche
4 The island of Borneo is politically divided among which three countries? Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei
5 Quel est le seul pays qui affiche la Bible sur son drapeau national? The Dominican Republic
6 Prince Rainier III of Monaco married which American actress in April 1956? Grace Kelly
7 CBGB, the former infamous New York music club, stands for what? Country, Blue Grass and Blues
8 The city of Baghdad lies along the banks of which river? Tigris
9 Bucephalus was the name of the horse belonging to which ancient conqueror? Alexander
10 What four American states meet at the Four Corners Monument? Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona
11 Who was the first cartoon character to get his own star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame? Mickey Mouse, on November 13, 1978.
12 The NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies formerly played in what Canadian city? Vancouver
13 Who was the first ever wrestler to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame? André the Giant
14 The University of Ottawa was first established as Bytown College. What year was that? 1848
15 what is the former name of Ho Chi Minh City? Saigon


1 What are the only two countries in South America that do not border Brazil? Chile and Ecuador
2 A Cuba Libre cocktail is made from what two main ingredients? Rum and Coke
3 Which American actor performs music under the stage name Childish Gambino? Donald Glover
4 Girl with a Pearl Earring is an oil painting by which Dutch Golden Age painter? Johannes Vermeer
5 Who was the first man to appear on the cover of Playboy Magazine? Peter Sellers, April 1964 issue
6 What is the mathematical formula for Newton’s Second Law of Motion? F=ma (Force equals mass times acceleration)
7 Who was first U.S. president to be impeached? Andrew Johnson in 1868
8 Les Jeux olympiques d’hiver etait lieu pour la première fois dans quel pays? France (1924)
9 The leaning tower of Pisa is located in which city? Pisa, Italy
10 What are the two South American countries that belong to OPEC? Venezuela and Ecuador
11 Which city served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790? New York
12 What city served as the capital of the United Province of Canada from 1841 to 1844? Kingston
13 A league is equivalent to how many nautical miles at sea? Three
14 What is the only snake in the world that builds a nest for its eggs? King cobra
15 What is the largest country located entirely in Europe? Ukraine


1 What heavy metal element was once known as quicksilver? Mercury
2 Who became both a vice president and president of the United States without ever being elected to either office? Gerald Ford
3 What is the name of the epic journey the Chinese Communists undertook in 1934 to escape the bombardments of the Kuomintang? The Long March
4 What is the name of China’s heavy lift space rocket? The Long March
5 Who or what is Liberia’s capital Monrovia named after? James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States
6 Where is Nollywood, the second biggest movie industry in the world in terms of number of films made? Nigeria
7 Le squelette humain adulte est constitué de combien d’os? 206
8 what does HDMI stand for? High-Definition Multimedia Interface
9 What three colors appear on the flag of Ireland? Green, white and orange
10 At this year’s Oscars, who won for Best Actor in a Leading Role? Rami Malek
11 What is the only mammal born with horns? Giraffe
12 In what city was the first Tim Horton’s opened? Hamilton
13 What Canadian city is the most educated? Ottawa (31.5% of their adult population having a university degree)
14 Jeff Bezos and Amazon own a spaceship company. What’s its name? Blue Origin
15 The Chateau Laurier is said to be haunted by Charles Melville Hayes, the President of the company that built the hotel. He died 12 days before the hotel opened in April of 1912. How did he die? On the Titanic